Fight for Iranian Freedom, Not for Bombs or Sanctions

There are ways to support human rights in Iran with advocating for neither shock and awe nor estrangulation of civilians. In Congress now are two brilliant bills supported by Americans for Peace Now which help human rights activists in Iran:

HR 4301 – the Iran Digital Enhancement Act (IDEA) would help give the Iranian people the high-tech tools they need to communicate online. It would also make it harder for the Iranian government to monitor or block Internet communications. 

HR 4303 – the Stand with the Iranian People Act (SWIPA) would punish corporations that help the Iranian government stifle free speech. It would also allow American nonprofits to provide humanitarian aid within Iran. And it would bar Iranian officials who have abused the human rights of the Iranian public from entering the United States.

Presently it is illegal for American companies to do business in Iran — including Twitter, Facebook, and the tools used by the Green movement activists to bypass the Iranian government’s stifling media control. As Roger Cohen opined in the NY Times:

That’s right. With the Islamic Republic weaker than at any time in its 31-year history, fractured by regime divisions and confronted by a Green movement it has tried to quash through force, U.S. sanctions are abetting the regime’s communications blackouts.

[Software designer Austin] Heap works with Babak Siavoshy, 27, at the Censorship Research Center (C.R.C.), whose engineers have developed software called “Haystack” that makes it near impossible for censors to detect what Internet users are doing.

“Double-click on Haystack and you browse the Internet anonymously and safely,” Siavoshy said. “It’s encrypted at such a level it would take thousands of years to figure out what you’re saying. It’s a potent open-society tool. It’s just a matter of getting it to Iran — and that’s still illegal.”

The Iranian people deserve better, it is beyond a doubt. But the American Jewish community poorly expresses their care for average Iranians. The Jewish community, by and large, is unethusiastically endorsing or loudly clamouring for sanctions. Or war — God forbid. Any Iranian who cares about their family back at home does not support sanctions.

Take action — tell Congress to support these two bills and help average Iranians win back their freedom. Without the bombs and starvation.

8 Responses to “Fight for Iranian Freedom, Not for Bombs or Sanctions”

  1. I am loving this idea. But…

    Too bad Chinese try do things like this and boom, great fire wall prevents them from truly anonymous use.

    Too bad China trades with Iran on such a regular basis and will end up bringing them up to speed on this as well.

    Here comes less fuel Iranian people.

    Ben David · March 3rd, 2010 at 3:13 am
  2. So, you’re suggesting that American Jews are “unethusiastically endorsing or loudly clamouring for sanctions. Or war — God forbid” because of the human rights abuses of the Iranian government on the population?

    Jason · March 3rd, 2010 at 9:39 am
  3. Jason, no, not at all. Ahmadinejad’s crackdown has given fuel to the anti-Iran Jewish boosters to call for sanctions and/or war to bring down Ahmadinejad’s government. Not because they care abour Iranians human rights at all, but because they think defeating Ahmadinejad will somehow quell anti-Semitism in the region.

    Kung Fu Jew · March 3rd, 2010 at 12:17 pm
  4. KFJ, there is no reason to think that merely enhancing internet communications among dissident Iranians will bring greater freedom to the country or overthrow the Islamic Republic government. Any serious strategy must include:

    1. taking steps to weaken the Iranian government and its security apparatus; and
    2. supplying dissidents with weapons with which to begin challenging the government’s security services.

    Weakening the Iranian government will require either sanctions or military strikes.

    Eric · March 3rd, 2010 at 1:43 pm
  5. Eric, our point is that those two things will precisely have the OPPOSITE effect – i.e. strengthening the grip of the government.

    B.BarNavi · March 3rd, 2010 at 6:23 pm
  6. A different take on the nuclear question:

    Jonathan1 · April 25th, 2010 at 1:37 pm
  7. On sanctions and Iran:

    Jonathan1 · March 3rd, 2012 at 2:36 pm
  8. The latest Israeli views on Iran:

    David Grossman:

    Yisrael HaYom (i.e., Netanyahu):

    I thank HaShem that I’m not the one making these sorts of decisions.

    Jonathan1 · March 15th, 2012 at 10:29 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik